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As Australia is still dragging its feet in legalising same-sex marriage, today New Zealand celebrates three years of legal gay marriages.

Same-sex marriage was enacted into law on this day in 2013 following a vote in its parliament on May 17 of that year.

In the year that followed, 926 same-sex marriages were registered in New Zealand, of which 520 were female couples and 406 were among male couples.


532 marriages (57.5%) were New Zealand citizens, and 237 marriages (25.6%) were Australian citizens.

The Chief Minister of the ACT Andrew Barr, who met with New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key recently, has said that New Zealand showed the way three years ago on what can be achieved from a vote in parliament when considering same-sex marriage.

“€œThey [New Zealand] have often been in advance, or led the way, in terms of those human rights questions, and they’ve done that ahead of Australia,” Mr. Barr explained to the Canberra Times.

“€œBut what it demonstrated here is that a conservative prime minister, through a parliamentary vote, a conscience vote in the parliament, was able to bring in that change,” he said.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr

“€œThe New Zealand economy is stronger, the New Zealand community is stronger as a result.”

“€œI think it demonstrates very clearly that when this issue is resolved in Australia, people will look back on the period of delay and wonder what it was all about.”

The Australian Liberal/National Coalition’€™s formal party position of a plebiscite was thrown into uncertainty by its performance in the recent Federal election. The Coalition only won the election with a majority of one seat.

Labor is arguing the Liberals have lost their mandate from the Australian people, and marriage equality advocates say that includes losing a mandate to proceed with the plebiscite.

Labor and the Greens want a conscience vote in parliament, as happened in New Zealand three years ago, and may find support from many cross-benchers and some newly-elected Liberal MPs.

The Australian Parliament does not resume following the election until August 31, but the same-sex marriage issue is sure to raise its head early on in the piece with the Plebiscite expected to be held in the latter part of 2016.

Last Updated on Aug 19, 2016

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